Renewables expected to take lion’s share of generation

Contractors are embracing new technologies to help reduce costs for traditional and renewable electricity generation as the industry continues to build, almost exclusively, natural gas, solar and wind power plants.

Mortenson Construction is using innovative construction technologies to increase the speed of its work and drive down costs for wind energy, says Tom Wacker, chief operating officer for the company. Further, Black & Veatch says it is using a programmatic approach to achieve lower costs through economies of scale. The Kansas City-based engineer is using 3D projections and virtual reality to help constructors visualize plans.

In fact, technological advancements are driving down the costs of wind and solar power so much that construction of the two renewable technologies are expected to equal, if not surpass construction of natural-gas power plants over the next two decades, according to the Energy Information Administration. After 2030, new generation-capacity additions will be split primarily between solar and natural gas, with solar capacity representing more than 50% of new-capacity additions.